YMCA bf'ing policy. - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-01-2010, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Please read our letter to the YMCA in Ocean Springs, MS. We want to let the leadership of the local and national YMCA know that it makes sense to support breastfeeding in their facilities. http://www.useyourboobs.com/

Right now we have about 150 signatures and would love to have 500 (from across the country and globe. Please share with all of your friends.
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:47 PM
 
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wow I was totally appalled at that story... not so much at the first request to "not do that" (probably because I am so used to that sort of discrimination) but the fact that they wrote that sneaky email trying to help employees circumvent the law..

ooooh I am so enraged and embarrassed for the YMCA
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Old 09-02-2010, 12:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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HeliMom,
I know, it was the follow up email that was the icing on the cake. Thanks for your support.
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:15 AM
 
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I signed it. Good luck getting your signatures -- I'm guessing that's why the letter is Dated Oct 1st?

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Old 09-02-2010, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Crystal,
Yes we thought it was more important to gather plenty of signatures than respond quickly. We will present the letter and signatures to the local and national YMCA. The local Y is one thing, but it just does not make sense that the national Y does not even have a policy or statement related to breastfeeding. They could really be a leader in the effort to promote bf'ing.
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:14 PM
 
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Signed.

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Old 09-02-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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That email takes the cake!
I am a YMCA member in AL and I have a 2 1/2 mo old breastfed baby. I signed it.

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Old 09-02-2010, 10:28 PM
 
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Just had an incident at our local YMCA. They asked a mom to face the wall, saying that her midriff showing was inappropriate, and someone complained. If you don't mind, I'm going to edit this really well written letter and submit it locally as well. I'm also going to "stalk" the pool, the yoga room, and the weight lifting room looking for two-piece swim suits, sports bras, etc. If their supposed reason is that a midriff was showing then they have a good fight on their hands!

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Old 09-03-2010, 01:15 AM
 
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Thank's 2boyz, it was me that had the issue tonight..

I was there, and the child care area was closed, so I sat in the vending machine area with all 4 of my kids. We were at a table, and I was nursing Ds3 (3 months old), since it has been 2 hours and we have major issues going on right now with lack of gaining and maintaining weight. I was sitting on the far side of the table and had my chair turned just a bit, so I could sit and nurse without being in the table and having DS3 almost laying on top of it. It was turned to face a bit more towards the member sign in desk, as it was about the only way to turn the chair and still be able to nurse (really tight space in that spot).

I have on a very large sized t-shirt so I have room to pull up the on side and still be fully covered elsewhere (it goes down almost 1/2 to my knees). I also had very little skin on my breast showing while he was nursing, so I was not just sitting there with my shirt lifted all the way up and exposing my entire breast.

The desk lady basically came over and asked me to turn away from the lobby area, so that others couldn't see what I was doing. They also did not seem to care when I informed them that they were violating my rights under Ohio Law, and that they cannot even approach me.

I called and spoke with the manager on duty, after I left, because I no longer felt comfortable to finishing nursing, and spent the next hour sitting in the parking lot nursing and trying to control my other 3 who were not thrilled about sitting in the hot car. Basically the manager brought up that they have a policy that prohibits the showing of a bare midriff, and it might have been violating the dress code for me to be nursing there.

Mind you, I had also nursed in the child care area the night before without issue. I was there tonight as a member taking a class (Karate) with my son, and had 3 kids in the child care area while in the class.
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:28 AM
 
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You know, I really think it's time for concentrated, nationwide action to be taken. Breastfeeding mothers have been harassed by individual YMCAs for years now, and the national headquarters has refused to take action or even make a statement as far as I can tell. Enough is enough. There is no place in America where breastfeeding is obscene or indecent exposure. And now, all these places are individually coming up with the idea of hiding behind the dress code? It's ridiculous.

I don't have the energy right now to start anything, but I really think what we need is for someone to mobilize the lactivists. I think we need to flood national headquarters with letters demanding at the very least that they release a statement to all local Ys that supports breastfeeding. What I really would like to see is a nationwide policy, but I am not sure how the Y is chartered or if the national headquarters has the power to make policy for individual Ys. I think mamas in states that have legal recourse need to file complaints. I think we need to organize nurse ins, and put our money where our principles are and boycott the Y. I know I was planning on getting a membership so I could use their pool for the rest of this pregnancy, but I won't be doing so knowing they go out of their way to harass breastfeeding babies and mothers. It's out of control, and dealing with it on a case by case basis just isn't working anymore.

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Old 09-03-2010, 01:41 AM
 
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I called them from the car, while nursing, and told them I wanted to cancel, and the same lady who asked me to turn tried to keep me from doing it. I was going to cancel our membership and cancel the remainder of our karate class we are in for this month.


She did appologize, but it was more for the way that she approached me (and it was because another patron asked to her ask me to cover up or something like that)..seeming to completely miss the fact that she had no right to approach me in the first place. I did let them know I would be filing a complaint with the Agency that handles them in Ohio. The manager on duty is the one who brought up the "dress code" violation about no bare midriffs.

I did call our Local LLL leaders in the area to get pamphlets or information to give to them educating them on Ohio's Law protecting my rights.
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:44 AM
 
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You're awesome. I think it's fabulous that you're following through. Don't forget to report it to FirstRight!
http://www.firstright.org/

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Old 09-03-2010, 01:45 AM
 
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Anyone who goes there should get a note from their baby's doctor stating that BFing is his only way of getting proper nutrition and that he is to be allowed to be fed there. some people are so irritating.

I guess I'm a Mom... how strange and wonderful.

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Old 09-03-2010, 01:47 AM
 
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Anyone who goes there should get a note from their baby's doctor stating that BFing is his only way of getting proper nutrition and that he is to be allowed to be fed there. some people are so irritating.
If they don't care about the law, why should they care about a doctor's note?

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Old 09-03-2010, 02:00 AM
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Signed it! Keep us posted!
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Old 09-03-2010, 06:02 PM
 
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Signed it!

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Old 09-03-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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You're awesome. I think it's fabulous that you're following through. Don't forget to report it to FirstRight!
http://www.firstright.org/
This! You did a beautifull job on that letter! Good luck on getting the sigs!

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Old 09-03-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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About the bare midriff- most states have laws specifically exempting breastfeeding from any public indecency laws...so I would think that the same would apply in that situation.

Okay, after reading the letter from the YMCA guy to employees- I wonder if someone took an infant into that wellness center without breastfeeding if they would say anything?

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Old 09-04-2010, 01:51 AM
 
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You know, I really think it's time for concentrated, nationwide action to be taken. Breastfeeding mothers have been harassed by individual YMCAs for years now, and the national headquarters has refused to take action or even make a statement as far as I can tell. Enough is enough. There is no place in America where breastfeeding is obscene or indecent exposure. And now, all these places are individually coming up with the idea of hiding behind the dress code? It's ridiculous.
Exactly. I'm a German living in China, and yet I've noticed this. The Y just seems to keep popping up in this forum.
I really have a hard time understanding how a "Christian" organization who aims to support families can make life so hard for, well, families.

Oh - and I signed.

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Old 09-14-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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I've been thinking about this and went ahead and blogged about it, encouraging people not only to sign the letter but also to write to YMCA headquarters. Maybe if enough of us tell our friends about it, it will be enough to make a difference.

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Old 09-21-2010, 01:47 AM
 
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I signed!

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Old 09-22-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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Old 09-22-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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Signed. I used to like the YMCA till I was told something similar while taking a lifeguarding class of all things ("cause what if one of these teenage boys went home and told their mothers that they saw your boob?" - remember these are *LIFEGUARDS IN TRAINING*!!!!! ). YMCA's have a serious issue with bfing that I do *NOT* get. I wrote them a letter explaing Ohios law and all, and you know what they did? They wrote me back and said basicly 'yeah, but we're private, so we can do whatever the f' we want - screw you'. I've not been back, needless to say.
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Old 09-22-2010, 03:31 PM
 
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wow. i signed it. i have never had a problem bfing at my ymca. i have been a member for almost a year and i love it. i am sorry that this happened to someone. my local ymca is awesome. the ladies who do most of the work in the day care are ap mommas and nursed their babies for awhile. i have never had anyone say anything to me about it. well except a good for you. i nurse in the day care regularly in front of the other children. i am one of 4 mommas (that i know of) who nurse there. i support every babies right to breastmilk form the source!

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Old 09-22-2010, 06:43 PM
 
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I'm actually really surprised by this! I'm a program coordinator for the YMCA where I live and I love my job BECAUSE of the mom and breastfeeding support! I can walk into the offices throughout the week and at any given time there is often 1 or more staff member with a nursing baby sitting at her computer or in a meeting. While the majority of those working are female, we do have males on our staff too and they are totally ok with it. I've never heard a complaint and we just love having the babies and kids there! I'm generally with at least one of mine in tow as well.

As far as members go I've seen dozens nursing at our facility. At one event I overheard a mom telling her husband she wanted to find a place to nurse. I stopped her and told her we had some benches by the pool window (pretty public, lol. the area with chairs was totally jam packed with people ATM, so was trying to find somewhere she could sit comfortably!) or if she wanted someplace more private I'd find her an office. (some people aren't as comfortable themselves) She said she would actually prefer some place more private because it was super busy during the event that was happening there, so I set her up in our conference room. No one has even batted an eye to nursing moms in the lobby or at the table either.

Of course, our Y is just plain awesome to begin with, lol. We even have a home school open gym time where the home school families come in to play, hang out and use the equipment.

I hope the Y involved in the OP's issue figures out quick that they are fighting a losing battle on that!

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Old 09-22-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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PS, I think I might mention this at work and see if anyone might be able to find me something about the Y's official policy (which I'm sure *hoping* is supportive of it, but perhaps its not defined? Frustrating!). In order for a facility to keep the Y affiliation they have to follow the policies and keep up to date on all that. If they refuse they risk losing that.

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Old 09-22-2010, 06:52 PM
 
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The thing is, though, if you google YMCA and Breastfeeding, it's a pretty farspread problem. That's what's mind boggling to me.

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Old 09-22-2010, 10:08 PM
 
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The thing is, though, if you google YMCA and Breastfeeding, it's a pretty farspread problem. That's what's mind boggling to me.
That's a huge bummer! My only experience has been at my YMCA where I work, the next closest is over an hour away. I'm definitely going to talk to our marketing person and see if they might be willing to publicly displaying something showing we are BFing friendly and see if I can find the official policy that ALL the Ys should be adhering to. I'm gonna dig and see if I can find that info? It would be nice to see what that is because if they aren't even following their own policies that can be pointed out too. (besides the obvious LAWS involved that state moms can to begin with!)

Like I said, ours is amazing and I'm really bummed not all of them are like ours!! I do a lot of staff training for my department and if I heard of any of them treating a nursing mom like that I would be livid!

The only thing I'd take issue with is being in the fitness area (weight/equipment room) anyone under like 14(?) isn't allowed in that room at ours... It wouldn't be related to breastfeeding at all though because baby wouldn't be there to begin with. Ours is a small area and crowed and not idea for youngsters. But anywhere a mom could possibly have kids or baby it would be fine.

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Old 09-23-2010, 04:39 AM
 
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i signed, and so did my husband. we are members at our local y. i have nursed there a couple of times and never had an issue. i am very thankful for that, because unfortunately in my state of virginia, we do not have the "nurse anywhere" law. we are exempt from the public indecency laws, however.

so i'm not sure how that would play out. in my mind, the only complaint people could possibly have against public nursing is indecency, so if it is exempt, that should cover it. but i doubt its actually interpreted that way.

i hate that our state doesn't have more protection for nursing mothers. it occasionally makes me nervous to nip in certain places, knowing that if there is a problem, i don't have as much legal protection as i would like.
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:08 PM
 
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signed and thank you
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